Alexander Cockburn, 1941–2012
A tribute to Alexander Cockburn—director of CounterPunch, Marxian environmentalist, long-standing editor of New Left Review. Robin Blackburn traces his path from County Cork to Soho, Havana to Manhattan, the Florida Keys to California’s Lost Coast.
Atlantic economies remain mired in unemployment and stagnation three years on from 2008. Diagnosing the underlying causes of the crisis as global over-capacity, deficient demand and anarchic credit creation, Robin Blackburn explores proposals for a genuine exit from it to the left.
Value Theory and the Chinese Worker
In answer, Blackburn explores the paradoxes of fictitious capital, underwritten by super-exploitation of China’s producers. A public-utility credit system, democratic forms of nationalization and mechanisms to socialize investment as steps towards financial dual power.
The Subprime Crisis
As reverberations from the stricken mortgage market reach the real economy, Robin Blackburn reveals the origins of the crunch in the shadowy realms of financialization. Precedents from the bubbles and crash of the 1920s, warnings from pioneers and venture capitalists, and proposals for how to turn the crisis to socially redistributive effect.
Finance and the Fourth Dimension
The concept of alternative futures, banished from postmodernity’s eternal present, flourishes on the financial summits of the global economy. Robin Blackburn argues against a neo-Luddite dismissal of the new financial engineering techniques by the Left, while coolly assessing the economic and social costs of their current configurations.
Capital and Social Europe
What positive programme can the Left propose for a ‘social Europe’, against the Anglo-Saxon model? Robin Blackburn outlines first steps towards a new financial regime aimed at boosting resources for sustainable health and retirement provision, with a share levy on corporations, redistributed across the continent.
The Enron Debacle and the Pension Crisis
What does the collapse of America’s energy conglomerate reveal about the mechanisms of financial intermediation? Crooked accountancy and plundering of employee pensions as badges of the Anglo-Saxon model that is conquering the landscape of capital today.
Kosovo: The War of NATO Expansion
“nato has established a Kosovo protectorate at the cost of great suffering for its people, and in a manner calculated to store up future problems. The bombing by nato generalized and greatly intensified the persecution of the Kosovans and destroyed infrastructure throughout Yugoslavia. There were . . .” read more
The New Collectivism: Pension Reform, Grey Capitalism and Complex Socialism
“With the advent of a Social Democrat-Green coalition in Germany, with socialists or social democrats in the governments of thirteen out of fifteen members of the eu and with Communists in the French and Italian Cabinets, the European Left faces an historic opportunity. The swing to the . . .” read more
Reflections on Blair’s Velvet Revolution
“The comprehensive defeat of the Conservatives in the General Election must be a source of satisfaction, indeed jubilation, to the Left everywhere since the administrations of Thatcher and Major were global pioneers of the free market blight and particular foes of social progress in Europe. In the politics . . .” read more
Raphael Samuel: The Politics of Thick Description
“Raphael Samuel was a founder of this Review, a constant friend and counsellor to its editors and an outstanding contributor. The articles he wrote for us proved to be landmark texts, amongst the dozen or so most important that we have published. The process of extracting them was . . .” read more
Ernest Mandel 1923-1995
“Ernest Mandel, who died at the age of seventy-two on July 20th, was possessed of outstanding talents as thinker, speaker and political leader, in a combination that has become rarer as the century has progressed. He was one of the world’s leading Marxist economists, and author of more . . .” read more
Ireland and the NLR
“The nlr’s record of publication on Ireland is indeed a patchy one, though not as lacking in substance as is claimed by Sam Porter and Denis O’Hearn. We should certainly have published much more than we did over the last twenty-five years, but what we did publish . . .” read more
Ralph Miliband 1924-1994
“The death of Ralph Miliband in May, shortly after his seventieth birthday, takes from us an outstanding advocate of democratic socialism, the leading Marxist political scientist in the English-speaking world, and someone who was an inspiration to several generations of the New Left. Ralph Miliband was, of course, . . .” read more
Edward Thompson and the New Left
“The death of Edward Thompson on 28 August takes from us the most eloquent voice on the British Left, a historian who transformed his craft, a writer of some of the best English prose of the twentieth century, a thinker who knew that ideas were not a world . . .” read more
The Break-up of Yugoslavia and the Fate of Bosnia
“The collapse of Yugoslavia, and the resulting bloody civil war, has become the worst conflict to afflict any part of Europe for four decades. Neither the governments of the West nor the parties and movements of the Left have found it easy to orient themselves as the tragedy . . .” read more
The Ruins of Westminster
“Britain, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as it is still officially known, resembles an ungainly, dilapidated, half-refurbished Victorian pile threatened by the simultaneous onslaught of subsidence, storm damage, woodworm and dry rot. This year brings an election that could be dangerously inconclusive and . . .” read more
Russia Should Be Looking East, Not West
“It is difficult not to feel one has seen it all before as one watches the Western response to the request of the new Russian and Union governments for economic assistance. The ‘grand bargain’ has been dusted off the shelf on the Russian side and the more impressionable . . .” read more
Fin de Siecle: Socialism after the Crash
“As we enter the last decade of the twentieth century, the ruin of ‘Marxist-Leninist’ Communism has been sufficiently comprehensive to eliminate it as an alternative to capitalism and to compromise the very idea of socialism. The debacle of Stalinism has embraced reform-communism, and has brought no benefit to . . .” read more
Raymond Williams and the Politics of a New Left
“The death of Raymond Williams on January 26th robs the left in Britain of its most authoritative, consistent and radical voice. His loss is the more difficult to bear in that it was unexpected and came when he was at the height of his powers. Tributes to Williams . . .” read more
Nicolas Krasso: 1930-1986
“It is with great sadness that we inform our readers of the death of Nicolas Krassó; he died on January 10th this year, following a fire accident at his home in November from which he did not recover. Nicolas joined the editorial committee of the Review in 1965. . . .” read more
Marxism: Theory of Proletarian Revolution
“The real originality of Marx and Engels lies in the field of politics, not in economics or philosophy. They were the first to discover the historical potential of the new class that capitalism had brought into existence—the modern proletariat, a class that could encompass a universal liberation from . . .” read more
The Test in Portugal
“The Military revolt which seized Lisbon and overthrew the Caetano government on 25 April 1974 toppled in a morning the most long lived fascist State in history and one of the most stable capitalist regimes anywhere this century. By the same stroke it set the stage for the . . .” read more
The Heath Government: A New Course for British Capitalism
“The eruption of the international financial crisis last August has thrown into sharp relief an often neglected dimension of inter-imperialist contradictions—namely the relation between the domestic class struggle and the international competition of the major imperialist states. There are two ways of neglecting this relationship: one simply regards . . .” read more
Comment on Lucien Rey
“The fundamental premiss of Rey’s comment runs as follows: ‘there is little of value written on women’s oppression within the Marxist tradition and perhaps even less within the Freudian tradition.’ Consequently, the feminist critique of Hegel, Freud, Rousseau, etc, is more important than a Marxist critique of feminism, . . .” read more
Comment on Magas
“Robin Blackburn writes: Branka Magas’ article touches on two themes to be found in much writing on the oppression of women. One is the very common rejection of Freud because of the blatant sexism which he frequently expressed, the other is a rejection of violence in the name . . .” read more
The First Circle
“‘For a country to have a great writer is like having another government,’ remarks one of the characters in The First Circle. This observation has always been especially true of Russia and a reading of Solzhenitsyn’s work confirms that it has as much relevance today as at any . . .” read more
Inequality and Exploitation
“Britain remains a country where the concentration of wealth is still one of the highest in the world. This is a fact that has significance for all societies of the capitalist type. After all, Britain has had one of the strongest Labour movements of any advanced capitalist country. . . .” read more
Prologue to the Cuban Revolution
“The Cuban revolution is now widely recognized as an event of world-historical importance. For the first time there has been a socialist revolution in the Americas. For the first time the new forms of colonialism have been unequivocally rejected. For the first time a socialist revolution has been . . .” read more
“One has become familiar with the demented logic and the deadened language of prominent American nuclear strategists. This book initiates us into a new branch of military mythology: “counter-guerilla warfare” and its associated techniques. It proves almost as frightening as the theory of nuclear strategy proper, since it . . .” read more